Locu, a local business data provider which works to extract structured data from business websites, is announcing a notable new partnership today with restaurant reservation service and guest management solution provider OpenTable. According to the agreement, OpenTable’s menu data will now be powered by Locu, and restaurant owners will also optionally be able to edit those menus in real time, if they choose. These menus are then displayed on the restaurants consumer-facing profile pages on OpenTable.
The news of the partnership follows on Locu’s earlier announcement in October regarding the public launch of its merchant platform. Through this online dashboard, business owners who sign up for the service can log in and take ownership of their profiles in order to access the data Locu had collected about their business from the web. The businesses can then edit that data, including price lists, specials, menus, and more and then publish that data to their own website, their mobile site, their Facebook page, or in local search directories. Because Locu had initially focused on restaurants, around 80% of its data from over half a million businesses was restaurant menu data, specifically. Several thousand businesses have signed up for this service over the past month. Today, the publishing options in Locu are expanded to include OpenTable as well, and Locu co-founder Marek Olszewski tells us the process is simple on its end. The business owner just provides the service with a few pieces of information, and then verifies the business via a phone call, similar to how Google Places works.
However, the OpenTable partnership puts Locu in front of some 15,000 potential customers in the U.S., 4,000 in the U.K., and others in Canada. (OpenTable doesn’t report data on Canada), many of whom may never have heard of Locu. Instead of having to sign up from Locu directly, as detailed above, they can just use OpenTable’s Restaurant Dashboard. Here, the business owners can opt in to begin editing their own data, updating their menu on the fly.
Prior to now, these business owners had no way to edit their menus on OpenTable, but would rather provide a link to the menu page on their website, which would then appear on their profile page. Diners then browsing OpenTable’s website can click to view the business’s menu, which will open in a separate tab. The move is an interesting one in terms of the potential for the businesses to attract customers by making real-time menu changes announcing daily specials and other time-sensitive featured items, and having those items – sometimes only found on a menu insert or scratched on a chalkboard – on a broader service like OpenTable.